We adopted a puppy over the summer and my kids enjoyed playing and taking care of her. Now that school is starting, I’m worried that the change in routine will upset the puppy. What can we do to ensure a smooth back-to-school season for our pooch?
Bummed About Back To School in Brookesmith
You’re right. While back to school can spell the return of structure and good habits for humans, it can be a lonely, confusing time for you pet–especially a pet who is new to a family with children. Instead of lazy mornings at home, spent with the pets, now the kids are rushing out the door before the sun is up and often aren’t home until the sun is setting. This spells long, boring days for a dog who has only known long walks, outside time and snuggling all summer.
What can you do to help ease the back to school transition for your dog? The folks at North Shore Animal League have some helpful tips:
• Work with your children to set and follow a daily routine that works for their lifestyle all year long. The schedule should include feeding, walks for a toilet break, walks off the property (for socialization) and appropriate play at approximately the same time every day. Establishing a routine your pet can depend on will help them weather any changes that may occur.
• Save a special toy that your pet really loves and have your children give it to them just before they are ready to go out. Put it away again once the children come home so it remains the “special toy.”
• Hide favorite pet treats around the house for your pet to discover while you are away. Rubber Kongs or hard hollow bones can be stuffed with a little peanut butter or cream cheese and can even be frozen for a long lasting treat!
• Encourage your children to come home right away to care for their pet’s needs and jump into a fun game of “fetch” or “cat and mouse” before starting other after-school activities.
• Plan fun after-school activities for your children to do for and with their new pet –plan a family game of soccer or go for a hike together. Encourage children to spend quiet time reading out loud to their pets and recording it so it can be played back while the animal is home alone.
With a little extra care and attention after school and on weekends, your new pooch shouldn’t have any problems coping with her new friends going back to school. Who knows, your pup might learn to enjoy a little peace and quiet during the day, making her all-the-more excited to see her kids when they get off the bus in the afternoon.
How you can help:
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, many Houston shelters are in desperate need for supplies such as kitty litter, food and old towels and blankets. Contact a shelter–such as BARC (www.houstontx.gov/barc/)–to see how you can help those who work so hard to help our four-legged friends.
Do you have a question for Tabby? If so, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pet of the Week
Meet Sperry. Like his namesake, Sperry Topsiders, (the boat shoes) this boy can handle all of the wind and wet weather that Harvey recently threw our way. This Shar-Pei/Cattle Dog mix is a young thing, but amazingly well-behaved. Sperry knows all of his manners and lots of commands–he’s eager to please his new family and is well socialized to all humans and even cats. To learn more about Sperry, contact K-9 Angels at: www.K-9AngelsRescue.org or www.facebook.com/k9angelsrescue.